As part of its volunteerism program, employees and partners of cement maker Holcim Philippines committed to help shoulder the schooling of poor but deserving students in its areas of operation. The program proved successful as the first batch of beneficiaries finished primary and secondary level this year, with some graduating atop their classes.
Last March, 44 elementary and nine high school scholars of the company’s Fostering a Child’s Education (FACE) program, which started in 2010, graduated from school. Two elementary scholars graduated as valedictorian, while another finished as salutatorian. Among the high school graduates, three received academic awards and one more was cited for leadership.
Overall, more than a quarter of FACE’s 412 beneficiaries finished with good academic performance the past school year. Top performers from various levels were given recognition during a ceremony at Holcim Philippines’s plants in La Union, Bulacan, Misamis Oriental and Davao.
“We are confident that there will be an increase of good scholastic record holders next school year given the trend of improved performance we’ve seen the past few years,” said FACE Foundation Director Teri Cruz.
Under the FACE program, volunteers support the education of impoverished students by providing school supplies and meal subsidy during the school year. Studies have shown that food assistance to underprivileged students is effective in improving attendance and performance. FACE volunteers are also expected to spend time with their wards to provide guidance.
The scholars were thankful for the assistance, as this gives them the chance of accomplishing their dream of finishing school.
“My father passed away in 2011 during my freshman year, and I had to stop studying because we couldn’t afford it anymore. FACE allowed me to go back to school. I am also grateful for my sponsor from Holcim Bulacan because he takes the time to visit from time to time to check on how I’m doing,” said Jason Barotillo, a junior at Norzagaray National High School.
The FACE program started in Holcim Philippines’s Bulacan Plant in 2010, an extension of project by one of the company’s top officials to assist poor students in the province. Last year, the company expanded the program to all its locations and opened participation to partners as part of the cement maker’s global centennial celebration, which highlighted giving back to its communities.